JSU Media Day

JSU head football coach John Grass address the media during the 2019 JSU Media Day at Meehan Hall on the JSU campus. Photo by Stephen Gross / The Anniston Star

JACKSONVILLE — Jacksonville State held its first scrimmage of preseason camp Saturday afternoon, and head coach John Grass liked what he saw from both sides of the ball.

The Gamecocks got in over 100 plays on the turf at Burgess-Snow Field, more than Grass planned for. But the sixth-year head coach said you can’t have too many snaps at this point in the evaluation process of a team.

“I thought it was a good scrimmage,” he said. “I probably got carried away and went too many snaps, but I don’t know that you can do that this time of year. I saw a lot of people flying around. We just have to continue battling to get better.”

As is with every practice, Grass and his staff saw some good and bad in the workout that went right at two hours. But overall, his expression was positive when asked about what he thought of the scrimmage.

“We did some things really well and we did some things that we have to correct and get better at,” Grass said. “But that’s what you expect from the first full scrimmage, so I’m pleased with where we are right now.

“I thought the defense had a good first half, and I thought both sides of the ball did some good things. I saw a lot of promising things from those young guys, too.”

The young guys were a highlight of the practice, especially late. The full scrimmage was the staff’s first opportunity to see the newcomers in that many snaps and in as close to a game-day setting as they’ve been in so far this fall.

For a coach that has talked about building depth across the board throughout the first two weeks of camp, those reps will be crucial in the Gamecocks evaluating their roster and seeing who may be ready when the season kicks off at Southeastern Louisiana on Sept. 29.

“We got to see everyone that we wanted to see, even our young guys,” Grass added. “We’re trying to see how many of them can help us. It’s a good thing that we have those four games that we can play them in to help us see, but I think a lot of them are going to help us with depth at a lot of positions.”

Grass also made sure to mention that a true evaluation won’t be made until he and his staff are able to break down the film from the scrimmage.

“We have to continue building depth at every position,” he said. “You won’t know until you watch the film because that’s when you see the things that you don’t see during the scrimmage. That’s when you see who played well and who didn’t. After every scrimmage, every player’s stock either goes up or goes down, and that really helps us see who’s ready and who’s not.”

The Gamecocks will get a recovery day on Sunday before returning to the practice field Monday afternoon.